5 Ways to Boost Productivity in Your Office

Do you often find yourself disappointed with the amount of work you’ve completed, even after spending hours on a particular task?

Julie Santos · 9th March 2017

Do you often find yourself disappointed with the amount of work you’ve completed, even after spending hours on a particular task? Do you sometimes feel that although you’ve been busy all day, you haven’t really achieved what you set out to do? This is a sign that you’re not working as efficiently and productively as you could be.

Here, we outline five simple changes you can make to the way you work to help increase your output, and leave you feeling less drained at the end of the day.

1. Take regular breaks

Taking more breaks from working might sound counterproductive, but regular breaks have actually been shown to boost concentration. A study by the University of Illinois found that even a brief diversion from the task you are working on can dramatically improve your ability to focus on that task for a prolonged period. Measuring the performance of participants completing a 50 minute task, the researchers found that the group who took two short breaks from the task were the only ones able to stay focused throughout the entire experiment.

Sitting still at a desk for hours on end is not only bad for our bodies, but it can also affect our concentration. Moving away from your desk for a few minutes can energise and refresh you, so that you actually perform better than you would without a break.

2. Listen to music

Whilst various studies have suggested that a noisy workplace can negatively impact productivity, listening to music actually has the opposite effect. Music blocks out the distraction of office chit chat, and improves our mood at the same time.

In a study by the University of Miami, researchers found that information technology workers who listened to music completed their tasks more quickly and generated better ideas, compared with those who didn’t. The researchers noted that stressed workers had a very narrow focus of attention, while those in a positive mood because of the music were able to take in more options. Interestingly, allowing workers to choose their own music was important for getting the positive results.

For office workers, noise cancelling headphones are often the best option, as they give out anti-noise to block external sound. This helps you to avoid distraction, as well as allowing you to listen to your music at a comfortable level.

3. Rethink ‘time management’

There are thousands of articles on the Internet about blocking off your time and ‘effective’ time management – but many of these simply don’t reflect the reality of modern working life.

There are thousands of articles on the internet about how to effectively manage your time, but techniques such ‘blocking off’ your time often don’t reflect the realities of the modern workplace. The tasks in any given day are so unpredictable that anything from an unusual number of emails to an emergency development can completely disrupt your carefully planned schedule. A more effective and productive way of working is to make a list of all non-routine tasks that currently need doing and put these in priority order, noting down any deadlines. If a deadline is approaching that you won’t be able to meet, you can then renegotiate, delegate, or ask for assistance. This is far more efficient than spending time trying to plan your tasks into a calendar, only to have to move them again when something inevitably changes.

Self-imposed deadlines can also be useful for managing individual tasks. If you know you have a 4-page report to write, giving yourself a 2-hour time limit with 30 minutes per page can help you focus on the task in hand. Don’t forget that taking breaks will help you get through the task more effectively!

4. Make meetings productive

Meetings can be huge drain on your time, especially when they take far longer than they should. According to software company Atlassian, the average worker takes part in 62 meetings each month, where half of the time is spent on non-essential things – resulting in 31 unproductive hours per month. Before booking a meeting, see if the same task could be achieved via email, phone or using software that allows for group input.

If a meeting is absolutely necessary, try holding it standing up. This technique is favoured by Entrepreneur Richard Branson, as the discomfort of having to stand through the meeting ensures it is kept short and to the point.

5. Stop multitasking

Multitasking not only makes it difficult to concentrate and reduces productivity, but it also has long term negative effects on the brain. When you try to work on several tasks at the same time, your brain becomes less able to block out irrelevant distractions, treating them as if they are just another task that requires your attention. Your ability to focus, remember and listen are all affected, causing your performance on any individual task to suffer. Sticking to one task, completing it, and moving on to the next will make sure that you can concentrate on each one properly, giving the best results.

If you want to boost your concentration in the office, why not try a pair of Go2telecom’s fantastic headphones? Shop the full range of styles online, or call our team for advice on 01925 768 250.

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